February 22nd, 2022
NDP urges the Liberal government to stand up for people under threat in Ukraine
The NDP critic for foreign affairs, Heather McPherson, made the following statement:
"We are deeply concerned for the worsening situation in Eastern Europe and we strongly condemn Vladimir Putin’s attack on the territorial integrity of Ukraine. De-escalation must, even now, be a priority and the Liberal government must do everything possible to assist the Ukrainian people impacted by what will surely be a disastrous conflict and humanitarian crisis.
We urge the Liberal government to use all tools to deter Putin’s aggressive actions, and support the imposition of strong economic sanctions via the Special Economic Measures Act. Moreover, we ask the federal government to prepare for the looming humanitarian disaster. Humanitarian partners in Ukraine are already warning of a drastic increase in humanitarian needs and Canada must do its part to meet those needs. It is essential that we stress that all parties to any conflict must respect international humanitarian law; civilians, schools, and hospitals must never be targeted.
Thousands of Ukrainians are urgently seeking refuge in Canada. Since 2018, the NDP has asked for visa-free access for Ukrainians, something many Ukranian Canadians have told us they want this prioritized. We continue to call on the Liberal government to do everything possible to help people fleeing the threat of violence in Ukraine.
We have yet to receive assurances from the Canadian government that arms transfers to Ukraine were subject to a standardized risk assessment according to our obligations under the Arms Trade Treaty. The risk of diversion of weapons, as we have seen in other conflicts, is extremely high – and the Liberal government must assure Canadians that arms our country has provided will not be used in violations of international law or human rights.
NDP MPs have been meeting with Ukrainian Canadians across the country who have expressed their fears for the safety of their friends and family in Ukraine. We stand with them. Canada has an obligation to support the people of Ukraine from this imminent threat to their democracy and their lives. "